Paul Ryan: WeaEUR (TM)re Working to Change the Rules for Tax Reform

By Lawler, Joseph | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, September 18, 2014 | Go to article overview

Paul Ryan: WeaEUR (TM)re Working to Change the Rules for Tax Reform


Lawler, Joseph, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Paul Ryan already is laying the groundwork to make a tax code overhaul easier if he takes over the top tax-writing role in Congress.

Ryan, the presumed successor to retiring House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp if the GOP holds the House in November, said Thursday that "there are two things that we are working on right now" to help him succeed where Camp fell short in pushing comprehensive tax reform.

The measures he mentioned were technical changes to the legislative process that would ease the math and the politics of lowering tax rates while expanding the tax base: Lowering the baseline for tax revenues and implementing dynamic scoring for tax legislation.

"The outcome of this election will pretty much determine this," Ryan added.

When Camp announced a tax reform draft earlier this year, it was met with resistance from businesses that would have lost tax preferences and from lawmakers who would have seen some of their constituents pay higher taxes. Although it was widely praised by experts for its boldness in taking on special interests, Camp's plan only raised enough revenue from closing loopholes to cut the top individual rate to 35 percent, well above Ryan's proposed target of 25 percent.

In response to a question from the audience at an appearance at the Financial Services Roundtable, Ryan said Thursday that Camp's plan had to cut too much because of the requirement that it not add to the deficit.

Instead, Ryan hopes to face an easier task by lowering the baseline for revenue that a tax plan would maintain and by using dynamic scoring, which would take into account any economic growth and subsequently higher tax revenue produced by tax changes.

During the lame duck period, Ryan said, Congress may be able to make permanent some of the so-called "tax extenders," expiring tax benefits for individuals and businesses, such as deductions for tuitions and deductions for corporations' research expenses. The extenders generally lower tax revenues but are not included in the official revenue baseline because they are temporary. …

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